The Times of India is in the forefront bringing out its first assessment of the state of play in the coming Lok Sabha election. About five weeks ago, the ToI published a state-wise analysis of how parties and alliances are placed, where they can hope to gain and where they could lose.
The Ides of March seem to have made some alliances coming apart, some getting severely strained and new ones being put together.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which is bereft of Lalu Prasad’s RJD, Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP or Mulayam Singh’s SP, is likely to win around 200 seats. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which does not include Naveen Patnaik’s BJD, is estimated to get about 174 seats. The Red Left may just get less than 34 seats.
The latest ToI assessment is that UPA is down by 3 seats, NDA is down by 19 and the Left is left with 5 seats less than the figures mentioned in para ante.
The non-UPA-NDA-Left bloc appears to take an upward swing and might account for as many as 134 seats. Out of these seats, the so-called Third Front comprising of Mayawati’s BSP, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP, Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK, Vaiko’s MDMK, Ramadoss’s PMK and Deve Gowda’s JD-S could account for about 110 MPs, Left included.
Others and independents, including the SP, RJD, LJP and some smaller parties, could be close to 60 seats.
In the conundrum of a fractured verdict, any party with 150-plus seats stands a good chance of leading the next government at the center.